There is rising scientific evidence that humanity has now entered a new era that is defined as the Anthropocene, in which humanity is shaping the entire biosphere in a globalized phase of environmental change. We have gotten used to defining sustainable development as the three pillars—economic, social, and ecological. This course suggests that we must rather think in terms of providing wealth, development, and livelihoods within the safe, resilient life support systems on Earth. Social instability is caused by environmental changes, even of only 1 degree Celsius like we are already seeing, as evidenced by events like the Arab Spring. This course will discuss the Great Acceleration of human development and human pressures on the environment. Humans must take on the responsibility of being planetary stewards.
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